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National Competitions & Awards

For young writers, there are plenty of national competitions and awards running throughout the year that offer a huge confidence boost, development impetus, some fine prizes and further opportunities. And for those serious about pursuing writing as a career or more seriously, gaining wider recognition for your writing through an award or competition can be just the catalyst you need to start you on that path.

To give you a helping hand, Hive have put together a list of some of the most well-known and respected awards and competitions running in the UK. We’ll add opps as we see them. If you’ve got a suggestion, drop us a line at [email protected] with details and a link and we’ll be happy to add it to the list.

And whatever you’re sending work to, remember, always read the guidelines carefully as to what is being asked for.

Competitions & Awards quick links:
Prole Laureate Poetry Competition, 2016 | aged 16 & upwards | deadline 31st Jan
Young Northern Writers Northern Writers Awards | Aged 14-18 | deadline 6th Feb
WatchYourHead Deadline: February 16th Poetry, prose
Tower Poetry competition – deadline 2nd March
New Poets Award – Pamphlet competition | Aged 17-24 |deadline 1st March
Wicked Young Writers Award – Aged 14 -25 | deadline 13th March
BBC Young Writers’ Award with BookTrust 13-18 | deadline 23rd March
Orwell Youth Prize y8 to y13 deadline 11th May
Ledbury Poetry Festival Poetry Competition Aged 14 -25 | deadline 18th July
Foyle Young Poets Award – 11-17 | deadline 31st July
Young Muslim Writers Awards – 14-16 | deadline 30th Sept
Slambassadors – National youth slam | 12-18-year-olds | deadline Sept
School competitions 4-14 age range | ongoing

Prole Laureate Poetry Competition
 Single poem competition (as many as you wish)
Who: Prole
Deadline: 31st Jan yearly
Age range: 16+ Cost: £3.00 for first entry, £2.00 for any subsequent entries.
Submission ask:  no limit to submissions
About: Prole is a print magazine that publishes high quality, accessible poetry and prose.We are, as ever, open regarding length, style and content. We are looking for poetry that epitomises the editorial values of Prole: to make writing engaging, accessible, challenging and entertaining. Quality is all.
Website: click here
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Young Northern Writers Awards
What: A Northern Writers Award of £200 for a young writer, aged 14-18, writing poetry or prose or creative non-fiction.
Who: New Writing North
Deadline: 6th Feb yearly
Age range: 12-18 Cost: FREE
Submission ask:  Up to 2,000 words of prose or up to 10 poems.
About: Established in 2000 by New Writing North, the Northern Writers’ Awards supports work-in-progress by new, emerging and established writers across the North of England. The Awards support writers creatively as they develop their work towards publication, as well as helping them to progress professionally and navigate their way through the publishing industry. This award of £200 is for a young writer aged 12–18. The young person can write in any creative form including prose, poetry, scriptwriting, blogging, songwriting and rap. There is one award in this category, although up to two writers may also be highly commended. Applications are accepted in two ways: through nomination by an adult/by application directly from the young person.This award will be shortlisted by New Writing North, with the final winner selected by our Northern Writers’ Awards judges.
Website: click here
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Deadline: February 16th
What: Prose, poetry, or hybrid. Both web and print
We encourage submissions from BIPOC and LGBTQ2S+ communities, people who identify as living with a disability or as disabled, women, scientists, children and young adults, people outside traditional art and literary communities, and those who identify with other underrepresented groups. 
Submissions from outside of Canada are also welcome.
We are looking for innovative creative works in a variety of forms (poetry, fiction, essays, rants, manifestos, and visual art) that respond to the climate crisis. We are interested in works that focus on the following: climate justice, Indigenous sovereignty, decolonization, racism, disability, climate science, ecology, extinction, and critiques of colonialism, consumerism, neoliberalism, and human exceptionalism as they intersect with, implicate, and are implicated in the climate emergency. We are excited by work that opens up thinking around the climate emergency and that maps out futures, activisms, action plans, antagonisms, rituals of mourning, and resistance.
Website: Click here
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Tower Poetry competition
What: Single poem competition with cash prizes
Deadline: 2nd March
Age range: 16-18 – Entrants must be in full or part-time education at a school, college or other educational institution in the United Kingdom. Students enrolled on higher education courses are not eligible to enter the competition.
Submission ask:  1 poem (for the 2017 competition, it must be on yearly competition theme (check site) one more than 48 lines in length
About: Tower Poetry started in 2000 when a generous bequest to Christ Church, University of Oxford was made by the late Christopher Tower to stimulate an enjoyment and critical appreciation of poetry, particularly among young people in education, and to challenge people to write their own poetry.
Website: click here

New Poets Award
Short collections of poems
Who: The Poetry Business
Deadline: 1st March yearly
Age range: 17-24 (inclusively) Cost: £8
Submission ask: Entrants are invited to submit short collections of 12 pages of poems.
About: Four outstanding collections will be selected to receive a year of support from The Poetry Business: a publisher and writer development agency with a strong reputation for discovering, developing and publishing outstanding new poets. All four New Poets Prize winners will also have their winning collection published under The New Poets List, our imprint dedicated to discovering, mentoring, and publishing young and emerging poets. Please note that the published winning collections will be extended versions of the winning manuscripts (approximately 20-24 pages of poems).
Other prizes include publication in The North magazine and a masterclass with the competition judge followed by a prize winners’ reading in summer 2020. Two of the four winners will receive a place on an Arvon residential of their choice in 2020/21.
Website: click here
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Wicked Young Writers Award
About: Writing Award recognising excellence in writing in young people between 5-25 years old from across the UK / Various Prizes
What: Partnered with the National Literacy Trust
Deadline: Monday 13th March
Age: Relevant categories 11-14 | 15 -17 | 18-25 | 15-25 For Good Award for Non-Fiction
Cost: FREE
Submission ask: Writing subject: We want your writing to be personal to you, so choose whichever topic you like. Length: 750 words
Entrants must be aged between 5-25 years old when entering the Wicked Young Writer Awards
Entries can be hand-written or typed
Judges’ criteria: originality, narrative, descriptive language, characterisation.
Open to UK residents only.
About: The “prestigious Wicked Young Writer Awards” (The Times) was established by the long-running musical WICKED to link the important messages of the production with a competition that would inspire young people to use creative writing to look at life a little differently. The Award recognises excellence in writing, encourages creativity, and helps develop writing talent in young people between 5-25 years old from all backgrounds and areas of the UK. In 2016, a sixth category, the For Good Award for Non-Fiction was introduced to encourage 15-25 year olds to write essays or articles that celebrate the positive impact that people can have on each other, their community and the world we live in. Each year, we hold a very special prize giving event at the Apollo Victoria Theatre for all 120 of our finalists.
Website: click here
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BBC Young Writers’ Award
What: BBC Young Writers’ Award with BookTrust for a single short story, up to 1000 words
Deadline: 23rd March
Age: 13-18 Cost: FREE
Submission: Single short story, up to 1000 words
About: The award welcomes short story entries from young people aged 14-18-years old who live in the UK. In order to try and help, we’ve assembled a host of resources for you to use in your bid to write the perfect short story.We were delighted that Georgie Woodhead, of Sheffield Young Writers, won the award in 2019.
Winner 2016 (14 years old)
Website: click here
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Orwell Youth Prize
Yearly themed prize
Deadline: 11th May
Age: Relevant categories 12 to 18 category and adult category
Submission ask:  Up to 100o words (yr8-110 and 1500 older) words on a theme (but check for changes) All types of writing welcome from journalism and poetry to short story and play.
Website: click here

Ledbury Poetry Festival Poetry Competition
About: Part of the Ledbury Poetry Festival
Deadline: 18thJuly TBC
Age: Relevant categories 12 to 16 cat and adult cat
Submission ask: Poems must not exceed 40 lines.
(More info yet to be available)
Website click here
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Foyle Young Poets Award
Single poem competition
Who: The Poetry Society
Deadline: July yearly
Age range: 11-17 Cost: FREE
Submission ask: Your best poem/s (quality over quantity).
About: The Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award is an opportunity for any young poet aged 11-17 to accelerate their writing career. Since it was founded in 1998 the Award has kick-started the career of some of today’s most exciting new voices, such as Helen Mort. With around 7,500 entries a year from across from the UK and worldwide, it’s the largest competition of its kind and its importance is widely attested.
Worth knowing: Although the Foyle receives a huge amount of entries, it’s not impossible to win with an innovative and well written and edited poem. Twice over the last few years, young people who’ve attended our South Yorkshire groups have won the Foyle (Georgie Woodhead, Lauren Hollingsworth-Smith, Imogen Cassels 2013, Clare Carlile 2012). There is also a record of the past winning poems on the site to get an idea of what has previously won.
Website: click here
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Young Muslim Writers Awards
Young Muslim Writers Awards competition category KS 4 (Aged 14-16)
Deadline: 30th sept
Submission: One story not be more than 8,000 words / up to 3 poems.
About: The Young Muslim Writers Awards work towards raising the standards of child literacy and creative writing. We want to enable young people to be confident communicators to help build a vibrant society. Since 2006 we have been working with 5 – 16 years olds across the UK both directly and through schools, libraries and community organisations. We strive toward nurturing their imagination and creative skills by organising writing workshops and holding an annual writing competition.
Website: click here
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What: The national youth slam for 12-18 year olds
Who: The Poetry Business
Deadline: September yearly
Age range: 12-18 Cost: FREE
Submission ask: film yourself performing your piece and submit it online.
About: The slam is open every year to any young person in the country aged 13-18, and aims to uncover the next generation of MCs, rappers, performance poets and spoken word artists. Young spoken word artists from across the UK will be chosen to take part in an intensive, two-day masterclass with the spoken word artist Joelle Taylor. The winners’ work will be showcased at a live performance in central London alongside Joelle. The biggest prize however is the continual mentoring provided to the young artists by The Poetry Society, who work hard to introduce the emerging poets to the professional arena and open up the world of performance and publishing to them.  To enter the slam simply film yourself performing your piece and submit it online..
Website: click here
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Schools competitions
Various competitions for schools to run in the classroom –
National Young Writers Award – click here
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